Cass Business School: MSc Careers Team Advice on Assessment Centres

The role of the Careers service at Cass is to provide students with the tools to become employable. So we provide you with access to employer presentations, workshops and then we give advice on interviews, application forms, CV’s and cover letters. An assessment centre is often the final stage of the employee selection process and they’re carefully designed to measure and evaluate job related skills and they’re are great opportunity for an employer to see how you perform over a sustained period of time in a variety of situations. I’ve used the careers service at Cass quite a lot during my time here. They can offer you workshops in terms of attending assessment centres or conducting psychometric tests. The thing that I would advise students is practice is the most important thing. It’s only through getting through a number of assessment centres where you can actually pick out the areas that you’re lacking. The content length and structure of an assessment centre can vary greatly, however they typically include certain key elements. Often, the day will start with a presentation from the employer describing their organisation and relevant programmes with jobs that the candidates can apply to. They can also include social and informal events. This may be dinner the night before, or just lunch on the day. Assessment centres can also include tests and exercises. These are selected or designed to reflect the demands, responsibilities and tasks associated with the role. At assessment centres you generally have to conduct a group exercise. The Careers service at Cass set up a mock exercise, from that I was able to get a real good grasp of what these exercises are looking for and how to approach them. If you have been invited to an assessment centre, congratulations. Here are some top tips to get you through. Research the organisation, keep informed of the relevant issues by reading appropriate newspapers, website and trade press. Think about the questions you would like answered in either an interview or a potential information session or when talking to company representatives. Take a practice aptitude test or look at books and information on tests. Think about the practical things such as travel arrangements, timings and what you’re going to wear. Make sure you take items such as a pen, watch and a calculator with you. Re read your application or CV to remind yourself what they already know about you. Think over what happened in any previous interviews and re read the job description, this is really important. Prepare for the interview, how well do you meet their requirements? What do you have to offer the company? Expect to be asked about your interests in the industry and the specific organisation, culture and values. Prepare to present, if you have been given a presentation topic to prepare, practice your presentation, preferably to an audience. Think about the content, the style and your delivery. Make the most out of talking to recent graduates and employees about the organisation. Be friendly, positive and interested. Try not to panic if you feel an exercise has gone badly. Competencies are usually assessed more than once and a balanced view is taken of your whole performance across the entire assessment centre. Remember you are being observed and assessed against the organisations predetermined criteria, rather than being measured against other candidates. Always ask for feedback following the assessment centre, although not at the end of the day. You need to know how you could improve your performance or develop your strengths. I would definitely advise students to book onto the assessment centre workshops, but also go for one to one sessions with the careers relationship managers and they can probably advise you on a more personal level. And generally the careers relationship managers have had experience within industry in terms of recruitment so they’ll have a lot of feedback to give you from their own experiences. The next 50 years or so will be spent in the workplace. You’re here at Cass and you’ve invested in your future so do come and see the Careers Centre. We’ve got lots of tools to support you on your journey through Cass and as an alumni when you graduate.

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